Strangers in the night sky

Strangers in the night sky

Everyone knows that while the night sky is black between the stars and planets, it is anything but empty. Throughout our universe, space is filled with all sorts of objects – comets, meteoroids, asteroids and a variety of debris. Ever since man has made its first exploration into space, scientists have been studying the debris found there. Scientists have also made a habit of naming items they’ve found, comets, stars, and even some of those asteroids. Studies have shown a variety of interesting fact that have helped us learn something about our own planet and our solar system.
Now scientists have their eyes set on a particular asteroid named Psyche. It is unusual in a couple of ways – first, it’s enormous, about a hundred and fifty miles on its largest size. Scientists believe it’s the exposed core of a protoplanet that either never fully formed or was destroyed. What is even more interesting, however, is the make-up of this core. Psyche is made up almost entirely of metal. In fact, only ten percent of its make up includes non metallic rock. Because of this combination, which is very much like Earth’s core, scientists believe that the asteroid generates a magnetic field in a similar way that the Earth does.
Scientists want to study Psyche for a variety of reasons. Since the cores of planets and moons are under many layers of rock and thus difficult to reach, it could offer the opportunity to learn more about the core of such heavenly bodies. In addition, scientists know very little about metal worlds which a study of Psyche could help change.
There’s no guarantee that this study will actually come to pass. It’s actually a proposal being put together by a team for when NASA puts out a call for Discovery-class missions, which tend to be on the cheaper side of scientific space studies. That call isn’t expected to come until 2015, but if chosen, Psyche could help give insight about not only metal worlds, but our very own.
You can learn more about Psyche here and about the proposal here.

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